BELEK, Turkey: Victor Dubuisson won his second Turkish Airlines Open title in three years on Sunday, shooting a final round six-under par 66 and denying Jaco van Zyl with a birdie on the final hole in the $7 million tournament.
The Frenchman started off in bright fashion, making a birdie in three of his first four holes, but was always playing catch-up after that when he made a double bogey five on the par-3 fifth hole, followed by a bogey on the seventh.
Despite making a birdie on the ninth, the 25-year-old trailed South African van Zyl and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, the two other players playing alongside him in the leading group.
But van Zyl (67) and Aphibarnrat (67) both slowed down on the back nine, while Dubuisson reignited his round with a chipped-in eagle on the par-5 11th hole, and then made three birdies in his last four to finish with a 22-under par total of 266.
Van Zyl had a birdie chance from 15 feet on the last hole to get into a playoff, but he missed and settled for a par and second place at 21-under par 267.
Aphibarnrat was heartbroken when a birdie putt on the 18th from less than two feet lipped out and denied him a tied second place finish. He was third on 268.
Reigning BMW PGA champion Byeong-Hun An of South Korea added a 66 to his 65 on Saturday to finish fourth on 269, two ahead of England’s Chris Wood (68).
World number three Rory McIlroy could not get going and a one-under par 71 round was good only for a tied sixth place at 16-under par 272 with American Peter Uihlein (68).
Dubuisson, who is expected to move into the top-35 of the world ranking from his current 69, earned $1.166 million and 1,333,330 points on the Race to Dubai.
He said he had faced a few personal issues this year, which he refused to speak about, which hampered his preparation for tournaments and also forced him to give up on his PGA Tour membership.
“I just keep it for me. But yeah, for personal reasons, I didn’t play a lot, and not very great.
But what perplexed him was the fact that it did not get him into next week’s WGC event, something he was really excited about at the time of holing his winning putt.
“It’s a big disappointment because it’s a big, big tournament.
“But, you know, they always change the rules. You don’t even receive an e-mail saying that the rules have changed,” he added.
“When you win a big event like this one, go back to top-50 in the world, top-10 in the Race to Dubai, it’s not normal that I cannot play next week.”
The Turkish Airlines Open was the first leg of the four-event Final Series of the European Tour. The second tournament is the $8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions, which will be played in Shanghai from Thursday.